Independents

What Spicer Greene Had to Say About Its Controversial Ad

IndependentsMar 29, 2017

What Spicer Greene Had to Say About Its Controversial Ad

Spicer Greene Jewelers’ “Throw Rocks at Girls” billboard sparked a nationwide debate. Here’s what they, and marketing experts, had to say about the campaign.

Asheville, N.C.--When Asheville, North Carolina jewelry store Spicer Greene Jewelers posted a billboard last week with the phrase “Sometimes, it’s ok to throw rocks at girls…” surrounded by images of diamonds and colored gemstones, they had no idea it would generate so much publicity.

“The intent was to be reminiscent of a childhood teaching, that it’s not OK to throw rocks at anybody, but if you're going to we’d rather have it be one from us,” said co-owner Eva-Michelle Spicer.



Spicer said that the ad was a play on words and that any literal violent connotation, “was not its intent. We don’t condone violence of any kind of toward anyone.”

The billboard swiftly met outrage online, leading the store to issue an apology on their Facebook page last Thursday that stated: “To whom we have offended with our recent billboard, please accept our apologies … We are humble enough to realize when we make a mistake.”

Sunday afternoon, a small group of people protested outside of the store.

Spicer Greene was aware of the forthcoming protest and donated 10 percent of sales from the preceding Thursday through Sunday, the day of the protest, to Helpmate, a local domestic violence agency, and Our Voice, a rape crisis services organization.

Spicer said that they have worked with these organizations, and other community organizations, prior to the controversy. “We've been supporters of Helpmate and Our Voice for many years,” she said.

Despite the apology and subsequent donations, by this week, the ad had gained so much traction on various social media forums that the story was picked up nationally by news outlets like Time, CNN and The Washington Post.

“I think that (the negative reaction) was started by a small group of very loud people who wanted to get attention focused on the billboard. Then Chelsea Clinton tweeted about it and it was a slow day in news,” Spicer said.



Marketing and public relations experts interviewed by National Jeweler about the billboard controversy said the old adage “There is no such thing as bad publicity” doesn’t necessarily apply in this case.

“Good copywriting is worth the money one has to pay,” said Andrea Hansen, founder and president of Luxe Intelligence, a luxury jewelry brand consultancy.

“This could have easily been averted if only they had said, ‘The only time when it’s OK to throw rocks at girls…’ It’s still cheeky, it’s still
a play on words, and it’s socially sensitive at the same time.”

Though personally Hansen said that her first reaction was, “Do we have to make a big deal of everything these days?” she noted the importance of understanding one’s core audience.

“Attitudes are changing, consumer behavior is changing very fast and while brands must be authentic, and react in real time to issues like this, often the insider perspective is too clouded. Ask an outsider to validate your findings, opinions and plans,” she advised.

Meghan Folsom, co-founder and director of public relations at accessories showroom Mega Mega Projects, agreed that Spicer Greene Jewelers misjudged their audience.

“Even though I find this ad inappropriate and offensive, if (Spicer Greene) were to use in it private email marketing directed specifically towards their adult customer base, it would not be causing the same social uproar,” she said, in reference to the criticism leveled at Spicer Greene for the fact that children would see the ad and not necessarily understand the context.

Folsom said that the ad has offended people in far-reaching ways, showing a disconnect with contemporary consumer values.

“Beyond the implications of violence towards women, I find the sexist undertones of this ad to be demeaning on many levels. Self-purchasing women make up a huge part of the jewelry business in today’s market,” Folsom said. “Not only is this store tacitly making light of domestic violence, but they are also implying that women need to have jewelry purchased for them by men.”

The silver lining of the controversy for Spicer has been the support she’s received in the jewelry industry, as well as from the public.

Spicer explained to National Jeweler that the reactions to the campaign had actually been mainly positive.

“Overwhelmingly, people have loved the billboard,” she said. “About 3 percent (of reactions) have been negative.”

“I’d really like to thank the industry. It’s been amazing. The Jewelers Helping Jewelers Facebook group really rallied around us and supported us and we’re blessed to be in an industry with such caring people,” she said.

When asked if it plans to take down the billboard, Spicer said that the store intends to move up its summer marketing campaign to replace the current ad, but that the timing of that is up to the company that owns the billboards and runs its advertising services.

Hansen told National Jeweler that donating funds to organizations that combat domestic violence was the right move for Spicer Greene Jewelers to make, no matter their intention with the ad.

“Perception is reality,” she concluded. “In the arena of public opinion, that’s the only truth that matters.”
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

The Latest

Lab-GrownAug 12, 2022
Report: State Bank of India to Begin Lending to Lab-Grown Producers

The loans will go mostly to the import of machinery rather than working capital, according to a recent article from The Economic Times.

FinancialsAug 12, 2022
Brilliant Earth’s Fine Jewelry a Hit in Q2

The company is also continuing its retail expansion.

AuctionsAug 12, 2022
2 Rolexes Paul Newman Gave to Stuntman Stan Barrett Head to Auction

The sale also will include a third Rolex, with all three watches tied to Barrett’s 1979 attempt to break the world record for land speed.

Brought to you by
The American Mined™ Collection: Ethical Sourcing That Matters

Rio Grande provides a pathway to responsibly sourced gemstones.

CollectionsAug 12, 2022
Piece of the Week: İTÄ Jewelry’s ‘Danza’ Ring

It mixes diamond shapes and colors.

Weekly QuizAug 11, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
Supplier BulletinAug 11, 2022
AGTA GemFair™ Denver – Back and Better Than Before!

Sponsored by AGTA

AuctionsAug 11, 2022
Sotheby’s Is Preparing its First Art Jewelry Auction This Fall

“Art as Jewelry as Art” features works from artists like Salvador Dalí, Alexander Calder, and Max Ernst.

Brought to you by
Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Hot Topics

From laboratory-grown diamonds to design to country-of-origin, GIA's Alumni Collective™ has a seminar to suite your needs.

MajorsAug 11, 2022
Brilliant Earth Opens First Missouri Showroom in St. Louis

It’s the company’s seventh showroom opening this year.

Events & AwardsAug 11, 2022
HRD Antwerp Is Bringing Back Its Jewelry Design Competition

The Belgian organization is calling for entries from all over the world, with an eye on attracting emerging talent.

ColumnistsAug 10, 2022
On Data: What We Know About Jewelry Sales So Far This Year

Sherry Smith digs into year-to-date data on lab-grown vs. natural diamonds, the performance of colored gemstone jewelry, and more.

EditorsAug 10, 2022
Take a Tour Through Buccellati’s Vintage Jewelry Collection

Associate Editor Lenore Fedow leads readers through the Italian jeweler’s works from the 1940s to the 2000s.

CrimeAug 10, 2022
Smash-and-Grab NY Thieves Flee with $2M in Jewels

The NYPD is still searching for the four suspects who robbed Rocco’s Jewelry in the Bronx.

Events & AwardsAug 10, 2022
JA New York Returns with New Designer Gallery

The jewelry trade show is taking place Aug. 14-16 at the Javits Center in New York City.

MajorsAug 10, 2022
GIA Is Now a Sponsor of AGS Young Titleholders

The sponsorship will help fund programs and initiatives in the upcoming year.

MajorsAug 09, 2022
Signet to Buy Blue Nile in $360M Deal

The jewelry giant said the acquisition will allow it to tap into a pool of customers who are younger, more affluent and ethnically diverse.

TechnologyAug 09, 2022
Tiffany & Co.’s CryptoPunk Pendant NFTs Are Sold Out

There were only 250 made available, selling for more than $50,000.

CollectionsAug 09, 2022
Cora Sheibani Shows a Magic Garden of Jewelry at Sotheby’s

The British-based Swiss designer’s “Pottering Around” collection is for sale at Sotheby’s East Hampton starting this week.

SourcingAug 09, 2022
Diamond Price List Introduces ‘Insights’ Platform

It provides real-time diamond market analytics.

SourcingAug 09, 2022
Grandview Klein to Donate Dialysis Machines to Namibian Clinic

The diamond firm will give the donation at a ceremony in Namibia this month during a trip for select retail jeweler partners.

CrimeAug 08, 2022
Nehal Modi Sentenced to 3-9 Years in Grand Larceny Case

He was convicted last month after falsely claiming he had a deal with Costco in order to obtain millions in diamonds from LLD Diamonds USA.

TrendsAug 08, 2022
Amanda’s Style File: Spicy Spinels

Tough, vibrant, and full of personality, spinel is a perfect birthstone for August babies, Amanda Gizzi says.

MajorsAug 08, 2022
Here’s How to Support Jewelers for Children this JFC Day

The charity will hold its fifth annual fundraising day on Sept. 24.

SourcingAug 05, 2022
Rare Earth Mining Co.’s Bill Heher Dies at 72

The passionate gem lover helped bring more than 300 different varieties of stones to the gem trade.

TrendsAug 05, 2022
Piece of the Week: Storrow Jewelry’s ‘Emblem Rosa’ Charm

The brand has attracted attention for its colorful, vintage-inspired pieces.

MajorsAug 05, 2022
Former Nike Executive Joins Team at David Yurman

Marcelo Tau is the company’s new chief operations officer.

Policies & IssuesAug 05, 2022
Satta Matturi Joins RJC Board

The jewelry designer founded her eponymous brand in 2015 after nearly two decades in the diamond industry.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy